How to set the perfect Thanksgiving table
Nothing beats getting all cosy and embracing everything thats's great about the Autumn. The decorative pumpkins and gourds available at the moment are such a joy to use to adorn a table, fireplace or mantlepiece. Ive interspersed them with some of my ceramic pumpkins I make for my own home and the Cotswold hotel Thyme England
I love mixing up textures when I style a table and these raffia place mats I picked up in a market in France give a wonderful harvest feel and work as great juxtaposition to the elegance of my burgundy bubbles
I love dotting my bud vases in between the pumpkins. I added dahlias, hawthorn and rose hip berries as well as coloured eucalyptus leaves. I then placed a few autumn leaves under the pumpkins and vases to bring the outside in, creating a natural border. And I finished off my central decoration with a few tapered candles in a mixture of browns and reds.
The speckled tumblers from HM Home add a tonal shift and a play on pattern which I always enjoy doing. The idea of mixing colours and patterns is not only how I like to dress but also how I love to style my tables.
I love layering my plates and the different patterns on each one adds to the playfulness of the table.
My checked linen is from Zara and love how it combines tan, teal and burgundy to complement my home. Over the past few years its all been about a gingham check for a more country table scape. It automatically gives a more relaxed feel.
Peppering snacks amongst my decoration is always something I like to do for my guests. Nothing better than picking at delicious treats whilst chatting and waiting for the main course to arrive. These roasted nuts with tamari, cinnamon and maple syrup are so moorish.
Meanwhile have a look below at the pecan pie I baked - an absolute slice of heaven - give it a go and let me know how you get on.
Crust: (although if you're not feeling brave buy a ready made pie crust from M&S)
5g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
115g cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
60 ml iced water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
195g dark brown sugar
245g cup golden syrup
A pinch or two of sea salt
225g pecan halves
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
THE PIE CRUST: Combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add an extra tablespoon of water.
Wrap dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 minutes.
On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9-inch standard tart form. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. place in freezer for 20 minutes, until solid.
Heat oven 400°F/200°C. Line frozen crust with lightly buttered or oiled foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and let cool a little before filling. Reduce oven heat to 350°F/175°C.
Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice so that they toast evenly. Set aside until needed. If you like smaller bits, you can chop them, or as shown here, chop half of them (although I usually leave them whole).
THE FILLING: In medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in pecans, cider vinegar and vanilla. Pour into a bowl (so that it cools faster) and set the mixture aside to cool a little, about 5 to 10 minutes. Then, whisk in one egg at a time until combined. Pour mixture into prepared tart.
Bake: For 40 to 45 minutes. The pie is done with the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is slightly firm to the touch but still has some jiggle to it. Cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or room temperature with a big dollop of creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream